Jayde Adams celebrates her sister’s legacy, 10 years on.
Ten years on from her sister Jenna’s tragic death, award-winning comedian Jayde Adams pays tribute to Jenna and to Brain Tumour Support, the charity that helped the family through their grief.
Jenna Adams was only 26 when she was diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour. Jayde, two years younger, was at university at that time and her sister’s diagnosis came out of the blue.
Jenna tragically died just two years later, after suffering a massive seizure due to the tumour.
Jayde remembers: “When my sister died, I was determined. I had this new sense of responsibility to live not just my own life, but hers as well.”
Originally from Bristol, Jayde started telling jokes as her sister Jenna lay in hospital with a brain tumour. Jenna wanted Jayde to help cheer everyone up as she found it hard to cope with the pressure of her terminal diagnosis making people sad. The experience no doubt led Jayde into a career as an award-winning comedian.
The comedian’s experience of grief has certainly influenced her life and her achievements have included being named Britain’s top female comic with the Funny Woman Award 2014, award-winning shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, filming a stand-up special for Amazon Prime, hosting the 2019 BAFTA nominated TV show Snackmasters, and most recently hosting Netflix/Channel 4’s Crazy Delicious.
However, it has been a long road coping with bereavement and, a decade on, Jayde and her mum Gail are paying tribute to Jenna and wanting to highlight the importance of the charity, Brain Tumour Support, which has helped them over those years.
Approximately 45 people every day in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour, and they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other type of cancer. A diagnosis can often have a complex and long-lasting impact on the life of a whole family.
For Gail and Jayde, Brain Tumour Support was there as a consistent source of help through bereavement and meant there was always someone to talk to who would listen and understand.
In return, mother and daughter have raised awareness and thousands of pounds for Brain Tumour Support through numerous fundraising events over the years, including charity balls in Jenna’s name and most recently by selling Covid masks expertly handmade by Gail.
Jayde recalls how, shortly before she died, Jenna said to her: “Can you make sure that no one forgets me.”
Helping the work of Brain Tumour Support is an enduring tribute to the sister who Jayde simply describes as “awesome”.
From its base in Bristol, Brain Tumour Support works across the UK.
Brain Tumour Support’s CEO, Tina Mitchell Skinner, said: “The vision of the charity is that no-one should have to face a brain tumour diagnosis alone and without support. Crucially that means that emotional and practical support is there from the point of diagnosis and for as long as it is needed, not just for the patient but for their loved ones too.
“The services provided by our specialist Support Team are free of charge and tailored to individual need, so this may be one-to-one help, support groups, specialist counselling, or providing information and signposting to other agencies. The common thread in the power of that support is reducing the isolation and fear that is felt after a brain tumour diagnosis.”